Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mercury dropping

Its getting colder here - only three degrees tonight so the fire is on and the heating is on for the first time this autumn/winter.

Picking again today and so tomorrow off to the Frantoio to have them pressed. Then straight into our olive oil festival Festivol Sat/Sun/Mon.

This is the sky tonight. As Rachel often points out, if you painted that then everyone would say it was not realistic. Nature is better than art?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A survey shows today that the most popular names for babies in 2009 were Olive(r) and Olivia. What are the odds on Margherita for 2010.

And in a very poor - brain dead from picking link - our new season's olive oil is now available online at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Busy busy

Had a good weekend but busy. Our first consignment of olives were pressed on Saturday afternoon and then bottled or tinned. I then took these back home and labelled them up.

The market itself for an all day affair and went really well.  There was a lot of interest in the new oil and Trevi was full of Italians having a weekend break and a fair smattering of other nationalities.

Rachel also had a drinks reception in the gallery which was well attended.

Today was an enforced rest day as it has been raining on and off for most of the day but the forecast is good for the rest of the week so it's back to picking and a return to the mill on Friday so I am ready for the olio nuovo festival this coming weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Olive firestarter.

Last year we used this press for part of our harvest.  This 'cake' is built up with hessian mats spread with olive paste and the pressed down and the oil extracted. The by product of this is a hard circular mat of olive waste.

When dried it is a very useful fire lighter and I have been using my leftovers from last year to light our fire here at Casa Margherita.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I am the reaper

When you are picking you are quickly reminded of how you pruned your trees earlier in the year. If you cut corners and didn't remove all the dead/old growth then now you pay the price as the picking is harder work that in should be as the tree are a mass of tangled growth.

If your pruning cuts were not flush to the branch then it is now that you reap your rewards as you scrape your hand over the protruding remnant.

Also, if you went to the other extreme and over pruned then again your reap your rewards as you have little fruit.

2 3 4 you are the reaper.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The end of the day

We have begun the harvest here at Casa Margherita and this is a typical view in most groves at the end of the day. We are doing well so far with over 300 kilos of fruit gathered.

Monday, October 18, 2010


These are the tree areas of Trevi that take part in various contests during Ottobre Trevana with the most important being the Palio.

In addition to this they each open a Taverna for the month of the Trevana. The format is rustic but the food is great (with lots of Trevi celery dishes available) and the atmosphere ebullient. The food is also very reasonably priced which means they are also packed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A rakes progress

Harvest time beckons here at Casa Magherita and so we have been checking our nets, buying some more plastic crates for handling olives and of course finding our rakes. In older times we would have used a rake like this to strip the olives from the branches of the tree but we have made progress and so will be using a vividly coloured plastic one. Much less romantic I agree but it does do the job and doesn't rust.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Il frantoio di Casa Margherita

This is the mill that we use for producing our olive oil. I have tentatively booked time next Friday for pressing but as I sit here it is raining and has been for most of the day so we will need the weather gods to be on our side.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

La raccolta - it's started.

You can see the nets lined out in the groves, ladders rested up against trees, Fiat Panda's rushing here there and tither and the roads slightly busier with tractor movements. This and the shopkeeper question of "have you started"?

Yes, this years olive harvest has started in earnest. We here at Casa Margherita are playing it cool and not starting till next Monday as we think the olives could do with ripening just a little more. That and the fact we are not quite ready!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday at Ottobre Trevana

Yesterday we were busy manning Rachel's temporary gallery at 8 Via Roma. It was a perfect sunny autumn day and Trevi was thronging with people. It is not often like that but when it is it is a joy.

Quite a few people came and browsed in the gallery and Rachel had a number of interesting chats. There were also a couple of TV camera crews present so she may well be on TV. I think the guy from RAI does all the festas in Umbria and so was very worn down.

I had an extremely good couple of hotdogs with both red and yellow sauce - a throwback to old eating habits I afraid but very nice. The Italian touch was that I washed them down with a glass of red. What style eh.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sedano nero

This is the famous sedano nero of Trevi.

It is currently on sale in every shop in Trevi, every restaurant in Trevi has numerous dishes with a base of this celery - it is omnipresent.

It is a celery unique to Trevi and has been awarded Denomazione d'Origine status. It differs to other celeries as the stem is longer, it is a darker green than others and has a intense smell and a particular taste. Its stem is much more curved than other which lends itself well to being filled with various ragus and with cheese. Alternatively, it can be enjoyed raw with some extra virgin olive oil and salt.

It is only grown in a small area in Trevi and a huge effort has been made since 1965 to protect, sustain and develop this particular celery. The growers are now producing sedano nero pasta as well as various bottled celery sauces.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coming along

I think were looking good to start "la raccolta" on the 18th October. If anyone is passing then all hands welcome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Elegance in a tin

This is our 250ml tin of oil as featured in the online edition of National Geographic Traveller magazine. I think it looks good compared to the bottles. Maybe there will be a conversion with producers using more tins. They are better than bottles as they are more robust and absolutely no light reaches the oil which helps it retain its quality for longer.

Yup, they are available at

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do you think its going to rain?

Yes, and it tipped it down. It has been raining now for pretty much 24 hours which is quite enough. The sun is back tomorrow so it will be back in the grove cutting grass and cutting down unwanted basal growth on the olives in advance of starting to pick later this month.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Forza Matiggia!

Saturday night saw the running of the Trevi palio with teams from the three different areas of Trevi competing, namely:-

Terziere Castello
Terziere Matiggia
Terziere Piano

The event entails a team pushing and pulling an old horse cart over a course ending in the central Piazza Mazzini. Then one member of the team runs and grabs a key and ascend the clock tower and touches the clock tower bell with the key.

This year, for only the fourth time in the history of the event, Matiggia won and I am proud to say Casa Margherita is located in Matigge.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


One of the pleasures of having a vegetable garden is that on nights such as this I was able to go there dig up some potatoes, cut a head of fennel and then grab a couple of leeks. Easy peesy and they will taste wonderful obviously as they are home grown!

Especially with the nice bit of pork we have.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Moustache of gold

Doesn't this make you thirsty? It does me. Or maybe it's just an excuse but I am having a beer that goes by the name of  Baffo D'Oro - moustache of gold. Now that's a proper name for a beer.... and very nice it is too.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today was the last Friday market in Trevi for a month as the Ottobre Trevana festivities take over. So we will miss out on our lovely Luciana on the veg stall but as she said, we will be glad when she returns in November.

Working on the Italian version of the website which I hope to be up and running in time for our olio nuovo
festival at the end of the month.